Next in the series on Island Preserve marlin jerky is this Chili Pepper variety. See my previous of review of their Pepper Teriyaki.
Island Preserve is a brand name of AIR, Inc., based out of Pearl City, HI. AIR, Inc. is best known as "Made in Hawaii Foods", a retailer of food products made in Hawaii.
This Chili Pepper variety is just one of four varieties they offer. They also have the Pepper Teriyaki I mentioned above, and then a regular Teriyaki, and a regular smoked. I didn't order the last two, so this is the final review of the series unless the company wants to send me the others.
Marlin, sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger powder, red chili, black pepper.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a fishy flavor, followed by a strong chile pepper flavor, and a medium level chile pepper burn. I can taste a light bit of sweet, and a light salty soy sauce. Overall, there's a lot of flavor intensity on the surface.
In the chewing, I taste largely the same flavors in the same levels.
For being a Chili Pepper variety, I do get a good taste of red chile pepper flavor. But that flavor tends to vary from piece to piece. Some pieces have little to no visible chile pepper dusting, while others have a lot. As a result, some pieces have little red chile flavor, while others have plenty.
As for that burn, it registers on my hot scale as "medium", at least with those pieces having a good deal of red chile dusting. Meanwhile the pieces with little to no red chile, are just mild.
Otherwise, I think the primary flavor of this jerky is the sweetness. At least, that seems to be the flavor that stays dominant the longest. Actually, the very first piece I put into my mouth delivers a strong fish flavor, but after several pieces, that flavor just doesn't register very well anymore.
But the sweetness is there the longest and the strongest, starting from midway into sucking the surface flavors, to the end of chewing. But if I were to eat a piece with a lot of red chile powder, that red chile flavor tends to overpower the sweetness. But like I said above, the red chile dusting is inconsistent, with some pieces having lots, and others having none.
As for that fish flavor, it has a flavor very similar to marlin, or at least swordfish which is what I've had plenty of. It's just like having a grilled swordfish steak over charcoal, where you get that smokiness. It's strong enough to where I'd consider it a second-strongest flavor.
I also taste the soy sauce in the fish meat, but it becomes more noticeable in the tail end of chewing.
The black pepper is noticeable, but light.
As for the garlic and ginger listed in the ingredients, they're difficult to identify.
Overall, what you're going to taste in this is a strong fish flavor initially, and then a good deal of sweet, followed by some red chile flavor and burn, and some soy sauce in the end.
These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in bite-sized pieces.
This is a dry jerky, but very flexible. I can bend a piece completely back on itself, and it won't crack. They're somewhat easy to tear with the grain, but rather tough to tear against. Chewing seems somewhat easy.
The chewing texture is far from like eating fish. This does not at all resemble anything like fish meat. Initially, it has a rubbery feel, similar to a semi-moist whole seaweed leaf. Once it's chewed down to a soft mass, it becomes gummy, similar to a Fruit Rollup.
The pieces seems very lean, I find no fat, no skin, no bones, and no other chewy or unchewable tissues.
In terms of clean eating, it's pretty clean. My fingers don't really pick up much of residue or chile powder, and the bite sized pieces don't require tearing.
Made in Hawaii Foods sells this Chili Pepper marlin jerky from its website at a price of $3.75 for a 2.25oz package. I bought two packages, each a different variety. Add to that shipping costs of $4.80, and it came out to a total of $12.30. That works out to a per ounce price of $2.73
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.73 price per ounce, this seems to provide a weak value. I'm getting an average amount of snackability for its good overall flavor, though the chewing texture is strange. That $2.73 per ounce price is high for jerky in general, and because I'm only finding an average amount of snackability, this doesn't quite provide me with an equal snack value in return.
As a red chile flavored marlin jerky, at the $2.73 price per ounce, it's a good value. First, marlin meat is going to be more expensive than beef. Second, I do get a decent marlin meat flavor, though the chewing texture is very similar to rubber. And, I do get a good deal of red chile pepper flavor and burn.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Chili Pepper variety from Island Preserve provides a high flavor intensity, with a fair amount of smoky marlin meat flavor, lots of sweet, a good deal of red chile pepper flavor and burn, and some soy sauce at the end.
My two biggest problems with this is the inconsistency with the red chile pepper flavor. It seems about half the pieces had little to no red chile seasoning, and as a result I couldn't get any flavor.
The other is that rubbery chewing texture. I expected to get something having a fish-like meat texture. This has an initial rubbery texture, which transforms to a gummy texture after chewing. And along the way, it feels slimy. It just doesn't resemble fish in any way.
But if you can get over those two points, you'll still find a good tasting jerky.
I'd recommend a red ale to go with this.
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